Byron Maxwell’s baptism of fire

The Indianapolis Colts travel to Lincoln Financial field this Sunday for the opening game of each teams pre-season. The spotlight will be placed heavily on the Philadelphia Eagles, with the media watching the likes of Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray, expecting a performance. But perhaps the more intriguing story comes from the Defense and more specifically, Byron Maxwell.

The Maxwell move was heavily criticised by fans at first with some still claiming today that he isn’t that great and that he was just made to look better playing opposite Richard Sherman. For the most part those fans have been silenced after what has been an exceedingly promising camp from the Cornerback. Our man Anthony Stokes devoured hours of game tape to see just how effective he is, claiming that in a game against Green Bay..he didn’t allow Jordy Nelson to slip by him once. If he can do it with Nelson, he can do it against anyone. But regardless of views on the former Seahawk, Sunday will see him dropped in at the deep end.

The opening pre-season game will see him not only try to shut down the likes of the now tied down for five years T.Y. Hilton and rookie sensation Phillip Forsett, but have to deal with the pinpoint accuracy and sheer consistency of Andrew Luck. Last season, Bradley Fletcher was a huge disappointment and the team know that. For that reason, the position is going to be highlighted since there is huge expectation for improvement. The fans in Philly are relentless. You either come out a hero, or you come our a villain. It’s what makes the city so special and what makes the team so special. If Maxwell shows any signs of weakness, they will be highlighted against one of the leagues elite Quarterbacks and against an impressive T.Y Hilton.

He’s coming up against a playoff team, there’s no doubt about it. If Maxwell can put in a solid effort, swat down some passes and be a constant hassle to Hilton like we know he can be, then the signs for the future are extremely promising. Hilton racked up 1345 yards and 7 touchdowns. It’s not as if he’s coming up against slow receivers, or receivers that struggle to break from coverage.

It’s the perfect way to start a pre-season though. Maxwell is going to have to cover the likes of Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham JR and Mr let’s run into a stationary object twice this year, so why not start as you mean to go on? If he was matched up against much weaker receivers, sure he would look better and his numbers would be more impressive but would it really show what he can do?

By starting against Hilton, we get to see a situation similar to what we may see a few weeks into the season. We get to see how Maxwell deals with such a versatile wideout and if, like we saw in the Packers game he can make sure that Hilton never escapes his sight.

All I know is, I can’t wait to see Maxwell take flight at the Linc..and the people who are still putting him down or claiming his talent is overhyped due to who he’s played with..are going to get a massive shock.